India news July 4, 2012

Kids shouldn't 'sell themselves short' with T20 - Dravid


Young cricketers today have the option to become rich, successful cricketers without even aspiring to play Tests, but Rahul Dravid has urged them to "not sell themselves short" because he feels there is no match for the satisfaction that can be derived from playing Test cricket. He was quick to add that he didn't want to judge them on or blame them for their choices but that he wanted to challenge them to give Test cricket a fair go.

Dravid was speaking at the launch of the book Timeless Steel, an anthology of some of the best writings on him, published by ESPNcricinfo and Walt Disney. The book is a collection of 30 pieces, some new and some previously published; the writers include cricketers (Ed Smith, Jason Gillespie, Greg Chappell, Sanjay Manjrekar) and well-known cricket writers (Rohit Brijnath, Gideon Haigh, Rahul Bhattacharya, Suresh Menon).

"There are more options now," Dravid said of the quandary cricket faces. "Very hard for me to be judgemental about kids of today. Unfair. I had gone through a commerce degree in college, and not very successfully. When I grew up, if I wanted to be a successful professional cricketer - and making a living out of the sport became a part of that - the only option for me was to be a successful Test cricketer. There was no other way in which you could make a professional living out of the sport. I would have still played it, but I would have probably looked to do something else professionally if I wasn't good enough."

Dravid said he could understand the lure of the other options. "People now have the option of not necessarily playing Test cricket but making a living out of the game," he said. "And, you know, who's to blame kids for taking that option? Who's to blame kids for using that opportunity if they feel they are not good enough for Test cricket? If they are not good enough for Test cricket, I am sure they will feel, 'Look at least I needn't make a living out of this game. Let me at least play this, which is giving me money.'

"I won't like to judge them on that, but I will like to challenge them. What I'll like to tell young kids is that the greatest satisfaction you are going to get is by playing Test cricket and playing in some of these great stadiums of the world. That will give you the greatest personal satisfaction, so don't sell yourself short. Try and achieve. It is possible. It can be done. There might be kids in this era who will take that soft option. Some won't. We will be able to see in time. Every era there have been people who have fallen by the wayside."

When asked if he saw enough players coming in who were desperate to play Test cricket, Dravid said it was not a concern right now but one that will confront cricket soon enough. "People like Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwary, or whoever the youngsters are, have grown up watching and idolising Test cricket," he said. "It's the kids like Samit [Dravid's son, 7] who will have grown up watching the IPL. That will be the challenge. What will those kids want? I don't see this as an immediate problem. I see it as a long-term issue.

"By long term I mean ten years, when those kind of kids grow up, what will their aspirations be? If one of the young kinds wants to play, will he want to play for a franchise? You have to understand that at the end of the day players are also performers, and they want to perform. When you look at the IPL, it's a great stage to perform. Played in front of full stadiums, there is a great viewership on television, you are playing with some of the best players in the world, you are playing at some of the greatest stadiums in the country… It's a great stage to perform. That challenge is going to arise in ten years' time, and I think we have got to address it right now."

India readers can buy the book here, at a special price

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ivan on July 7, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @Ranjit Gulvady: So test cricket played in India does not matter huh? Only test cricket played abroad because that is the true test? Are you for real? Which team tours well - perhaps just SA who usually hold their own in the sub continent. When teams come to India they must learn to win on vicious turners - it's called home court advantage. When India goes to Australia they get to play in Perth or Brisbane with hardly any warm up - why? To pommel them on a hard bouncy track that they are not used to.

    As for Dravid's comment re Test Cricket, it really is an anachronism. Who has the time to watch 5 days of Cricket played during the day time - nobody which is why stadia are empty. Cricket is a great sport - the skill of the batsmen, bowlers and fielders will remain and be enhanced. But formats will change. You cannot keep Test cricket alive when it has no appeal among the fans - the aficianados maybe but they are few and far between.

  • Srinivas on July 7, 2012, 11:42 GMT

    You can see the love that Dravid has for cricket. When you love something so dearly, you try to accomodate. Dravid, instead of wishing for the death of t20, is asking everybody to accomodate it. And these words coming from the most classical test match batsman. Wonderful human.

  • Aditya on July 7, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    I think the BCCI should look to find other ways of promoting test cricket. I am sure though the stadiums seem empty.... most of the fans keep a track on the match and scores.... so the BCCI could think of improving radio and online coverage.......

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2012, 16:50 GMT


    No Indian player is in the first 10 of the ICC players rankings ...

    No one in Test Batsmen rankings (first Indian is at 11, Sachin, to whom every one is telling to retire!) No one in Test Bowlers rankings (first Indian is at 12, Mr. Zaheer Khan who always has hamstrings) No one in Test Allrounders rankings!

    Good luck Dravid!

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2012, 11:50 GMT

    For spectators in most parts of cricketing world, Test cricket died a long time ago with advent of ODIs. Nows its ODIs turn to die with advent of T20. Tests were subsidised by bulk of money made in television rights money made via bilateral ODI series. So its surprising everyone gunning for survival of a format that is more or less dead a decade ago.

  • Sony on July 6, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    I love test cricket more than odi and t20s. But its hard to believe a game which spans 5 full days and still can end up in a draw will survive. Ofcourse not a big concern now. But as dravid said, test cricket will be in serious danger after 10 years or so.

  • Arulprakash on July 6, 2012, 8:55 GMT

    Fans want T20. Eventually fans will win!

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2012, 8:54 GMT

    @landl47, RodStark: Although I'll be happy if india wins their home tests vs. england, a little part of me hopes they lose! The sub-continent victories really mean nothing to me as far as being good in tests is concerned. And for the BCCI, i suppose home victories are the only only thing they are hanging onto. The moment that goes away, it'll be interesting to see how they react.

  • V.L on July 6, 2012, 7:22 GMT

    @Sonya Jones I would take a batsman who averages 60 in Aus and 58 at home more than a fast track bully who averages 21 in India(WIz: Ponting). Australian teams are only good at home. Once they tour subcontinent they will get humiliated at the hands of sides with good spinners such as India and Pak. Even at home Aus were whipped by England in Ashes and pummeled by SA. Away from home we all remember 21/9 and 43 all out! No side in the top 5 cricketing nations can beat that. And when England tours India, they are in for a treat on our turning wickets, on which Amit Mishra and Ashwin will toy with the clueless Poms and Aussies. For the record, Aus lost to India 2-0 on their previous two tours to India and this time since its a 4-test series I expect them to go one better and beat Aus 3-0.

  • Dummy4 on July 6, 2012, 6:19 GMT

    T20 is cricket for people who don't like cricket. If you are satisfied by three hours of cricket, you don't like cricket. After six hours of cricket, I want more. Cricket is also a cerebral game. Players and captains need to balance risk against potential reward. In long format cricket, everything that increases the chances that you will win also increases the chances that you will lose. The thrill of a six in T20 pales by comparison to the high drama of long format cricket.

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